Three Black Men

June 20, 2023

We know that we’re living in a critical time in human history. We know that we can no longer say, “It’s not my responsibility.” What is it that this time begs us to see? In this podcast, Tami Simon joins visionary leaders Bayo Akomolafe, Orland Bishop, and Resmaa Menakem for a compelling conversation about the intersection of past, present, and future and the creation of new rituals and pathways for healing, equity, and belonging for all people.

Tune in as Bayo, Orland, and Resmaa discuss with Tami: “facing the monstrous” and reconciling that which we’ve chosen to avoid; how transformation is inevitably disabling; stopping the propagation of violence and fear in the human psyche; the metaphor of the fissure in the road; the power of ritual to foster inclusion and “metabolize” trauma; initiating the shift from the profane to the sacred; tapping the generative energies awaiting expression; imaginal cells and the analogy of the caterpillar and the butterfly; the evolution of music and trusting the maturation of creative acts; the Trickster archetype, and how oppression is never complete; getting out of the habit of predicting what comes next; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Bayo Akomolafe, PhD, was born in Nigeria and steeped in Yoruba teachings as well as Western academia. Trained in clinical psychology, he refers to himself as a “renegade academic” and is globally recognized for his poetic, unconventional, and soul-stirring views on our current global crisis and the opportunities we now have for social change.

Orland Bishop is the founder and director of ShadeTree Multicultural Foundation in Los Angeles, where he has pioneered approaches to urban truces and mentoring at-risk youth that combine new ideas with traditional ways of knowledge. ShadeTree serves as an intentional community of mentors, elders, teachers, artists, healers, and advocates for the healthy development of children and youth. Orland’s work in healing and human development is framed by an extensive study of medicine, naturopathy, psychology, and Indigenous cosmologies, primarily those of South and West Africa.

Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, SEP, is a therapist with decades of experience, currently in private practice in Minneapolis, Minnesota, specializing in trauma, body-centered psychotherapy, and violence prevention. His books include the New York Times bestseller My Grandmother’s Hands and The Quaking of America. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Dr. Phil as an expert on conflict and violence. Menakem has studied with bestselling author Dr. David Schnarch (Passionate Marriage), and trained at Dr. Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute. For more, visit resmaa.com.

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Meet Your Host: Tami Simon

Founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today's leading teachers. Tami lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Rasberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.

Photo © Jason Elias

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Three Black Men

We know that we’re living in a critical time in human history. We know that we can no longer say, “It’s not my responsibility.” What is it that this time begs us to see? In this podcast, Tami Simon joins visionary leaders Bayo Akomolafe, Orland Bishop, and Resmaa Menakem for a compelling conversation about the intersection of past, present, and future and the creation of new rituals and pathways for healing, equity, and belonging for all people.

Tune in as Bayo, Orland, and Resmaa discuss with Tami: “facing the monstrous” and reconciling that which we’ve chosen to avoid; how transformation is inevitably disabling; stopping the propagation of violence and fear in the human psyche; the metaphor of the fissure in the road; the power of ritual to foster inclusion and “metabolize” trauma; initiating the shift from the profane to the sacred; tapping the generative energies awaiting expression; imaginal cells and the analogy of the caterpillar and the butterfly; the evolution of music and trusting the maturation of creative acts; the Trickster archetype, and how oppression is never complete; getting out of the habit of predicting what comes next; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Let Us Make Sanctuary

Bayo Akomolafe, PhD, was born in Nigeria and steeped in Yoruba teachings as well as Western academia. Trained in clinical psychology, he refers to himself as a “renegade academic” and is globally recognized for his poetic, unconventional, and soul-stirring views on our current global crisis and the opportunities we now have for social change. 

In this podcast, Sounds True founder Tami Simon speaks with Dr. Akomolafe about how sanctuary is where slowing down and healing happens. They discuss: how the function of slowing down in urgent times is not about simply resting so that we can continue forward in the same direction, but about how to engage in deep inquiry about where we are going; pouring drink to earth—an African spiritual technology that expresses our indebtedness to our ancestors and all that makes life possible; standing at the crossroads—how the ground underneath us is going through a seismic shift that is allowing the unsaid to now be spoken and intelligible; the invitation of the slave ship as a place of spiritual contemplation and as a site of renewing our connections with grief, loss, trauma, and tragedy; grieving as a form of activism; and more.

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Ep 6: The H-Word

When it comes to the state of our world, the concept of hope can feel elusive. Joanna teaches Jess that the future may be uncertain, but that means that there’s still room for something beautiful to happen. This episode offers insights into embracing uncertainty, cultivating joyousness, and understanding the intricate interplay between hope, courage, and action.

In this episode:

  • “Active hope” is about acting in service of the future we hope for
  • Whenever Jess asks about hope, Joanna talks instead about courage 
  • When hope eludes us, courage and our devotion to life remain steadfast

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

Ep 5 Bonus: Breathing Through

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 4: There is No Future if We Go Numb and Episode 5: This Pain Is Not for Nothing, deeper into your life. 

Both of these episodes are about the second phase in the Spiral of the Work That Reconnects, Honoring Our Pain for the World. This bonus is a recording of Joanna leading a meditation called Breathing Through, recorded at a retreat in 2006. In it, she’ll guide you to create space to acknowledge and honor the pain for the world that you carry without numbing or getting overwhelmed. All you’ll need for this bonus exercise is a place where you can close your eyes and relax.  

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

 

Ep 5: This Pain Is Not for Nothing

Now we get to what may be the toughest part of reckoning with our planet’s situation: dealing with numbness, grief, and despair. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the many crises around us, and natural to want to numb ourselves to the pain. 

Joanna and Jess speak with great vulnerability and candor about what it takes to navigate our darkest feelings—and the strength and beauty that can be found when we honor our pain. 

Trigger Warning: In this episode, we discuss suicide.

In this episode:

  • When it feels like our pain could swallow us whole, it helps to remember that all feelings come and go
  • Desperation can take us to dark places, but we are more than our despair
  • Numbness—Jess opens up about her familiar tactic for escaping pain
  • Our pain becomes sacred when we allow it to deepen our connection with the world
  • Bonus Exercise: Breathing Through

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

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